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Academic Paper

Title: The impact of number mismatch and passives on the real-time processing of relative clauses
Author: Carla Contemori
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Author: Theodoros Marinis
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Institution: University of Reading
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Language processing plays a crucial role in language development, providing the ability to assign structural representations to input strings (e.g., Fodor, 1998). In this paper we aim at contributing to the study of children's processing routines, examining the operations underlying the auditory processing of relative clauses in children compared to adults. English-speaking children (6;0–8;11) and adults participated in the study, which employed a self-paced listening task with a final comprehension question. The aim was to determine (i) the role of number agreement in object relative clauses in which the subject and object NPs differ in terms of number properties, and (ii) the role of verb morphology (active vs. passive) in subject relative clauses. Even though children's off-line accuracy was not always comparable to that of adults, analyses of reaction times results support the view that children have the same structural processing reflexes observed in adults.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 41, Issue 3.

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